First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 | All Things, Arts

The Brooklyn Museum of Art hosts a popular event the first Saturday of every month, during which the museum schedules a range of events, from lectures to musical performances to films to dancing — all free and open to the public. The galleries remain open until 11:00PM on that night, drawing crowds from all around the city. For years, I’ve missed out on this great tradition, but a series of changes suddenly freed up my weekends, opening up a whole new range of possibilities.

It was the first time I’d been back to the museum since just after the Polshek Partnership Architects plaza redesign during that cruellest month in 2004.

Brooklyn Museum

The museum was jammed with visitors: endless lines for the coat check, the café, the elevator… Tonight’s movie was one of my favorites, but we passed on the crowds to wander the galleries instead. Here, a part of the museum I’d never seen before: the Visible Storage Rooms — crammed floor to ceiling with encased treasures.

Brooklyn Museum Storage Room

This was the last weekend of London-based model artist Ron Mueck’s solo exhibition, after which the pieces would be traveling to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (March 2 — May 6, 2007.) The visceral ultra-realism of the sculptures offered uncompromising facsimiles of the human form right down to their skin, hair, teeth, nails and facial expressions. Overscaled figures loomed threateningly large and almost grotesque (“Unititled” (Big Man), “Wild Man,” “A Girl,” the “Mask” series); I found myself both disturbed and moved by “Dead Dad”, which cast a pitiable, vulnerable figure, and the delicate miniature Spooning Couple. Like others, I stood quietly riveted before the two tiny, curled figures, pondering what it is to be human inside our isolating skins, in such close proximity to another, yet so achingly alone.

Downstairs, the Devorah Sperber exhibit (on view through May 6, 2007) was creating quite a stir. Oohs and ahhs (and some murmurs of confusion) filled the gallery where the New York-based artist’s multi-colored thread spool installations were on display. The large-scale installations explore personal vision and optics, light and perception, using ordinary objects to function as low-tech pixels. Viewers first perceive the spools of thread as a random arrangement of colorful cylinders, in front of which Sperber places a clear acrylic viewing sphere, to invert the image and condense the colored pixels into a recognizable image.

Here, “After the Mona Lisa 1”, which incorporates 425 spools of thread:

Sperber Mona Lisa

Also included are full-scale recreations of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and a more detailed “Mona Lisa”, Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein and van Eyck’s “Man in a Red Turban”.

Smiling faces and sore toes in the Beaux Arts Ballroom, where a swing lesson was in full… uh, progress. The dance party that followed would last through the end of the night, with music provided by the Lapis Luna Orchestra.

Brooklyn Museum Dance Party

There's 1 comment so far ... First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum

February 15, 2007

I’m going back on March 3rd. Mostly for the dancing.

I sometimes hear the theme music to ITMFL in my head and I slow my pace to take in the world around me. Might be one of the reasons I notice and help so many lost souls (tourists) everyday.

Go for it ...